Gaming

Detroit: Become Human review: Create-your-own-adventures are back

This is your story

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Throughout video game history, the element of choice has never factored prominently towards a game’s progress. Even with an abundance of gameplay elements, video games always corral you to its own desired ending.

With Detroit: Become Human, developer Quantic Dream completely leaves that option to you. Besides a unique cinematic experience, Detroit brings a complete create-your-own-adventure set inside a near-future sci-fi world.

Welcome to Detroit

Like its predecessors Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human mixes its plot seamlessly with its gameplay. Because both are so intertwined, it becomes impossible to talk about one without the other.

Detroit brings us to its eponymous city in 2038. Despite being set two decades into the future, the Motor City doesn’t differ greatly from how it is now. Cars, houses, and clothing styles strangely look the same. However, for all its similarities, the Detroit (and everywhere else) of the future differs in one crucial aspect: artificially intelligent androids exist.

As predicted, humanity has invented compliant and intelligent robots that can do our bidding as servants, companions, and even occasional lovers. Unfortunately, things aren’t as smooth as they seem. Everywhere, androids have started to rebel against their masters. Humanity would call them “deviants.”

In Detroit, you control three androids portrayed through their own respective points of view. Connor is a prototype police android tasked with investigating why androids are turning deviant. Kara is a housewife managing an abusive father’s house and his daughter. Markus is a companion robot caring for an aging artist.

Three-in-one

With three characters, Quantic Dream created three distinct perspectives to separate each story from the other. Besides three collaborative ones, each chapter takes on a different tone and theme.

From gameplay elements to the soundtrack, each perspective is its own story. Even if you isolate them as separate stories, they can still exist individually as an adequately drawn game.

For the most part, every character is isolated in its own world. Detroit successfully created different moods for each story. Connor’s story and gameplay takes on a CSI vibe. Kara’s story has a more familial vibe. Finally, Markus’ story has a more revolutionary tone.

Sigh-filled sci-fi

A well-written science fiction story is always an excellent medium to depict a cautionary tale of the future a la Black Mirror. Like that show, Detroit starts off with an optimistic, well-rounded vision of the almost-near future. In that vision, androids have elevated humanity into new technological levels.

Unfortunately, this breath of fresh air eventually degrades to an on-the-nose civil rights story. From the onset, Detroit already hints that android rights lack the same modicum of respect that human rights do.

While civil rights stories shine in the spotlight today, Detroit hammers it down a little too much. Case in point, the story’s android rights movement uses too much historic taglines like “we have a dream” and “we think therefore we are.” Despite its create-your-own nature, Detroit really wants you to care about its androids.

For what it’s worth, its background worldbuilding excels. Through in-game magazines and TV screens, the game explores other facets of 2038’s world — politics, sports, interpersonal relationships, and transportation.

Do choices really matter?

Thankfully, yes. As with Quantic Dream’s other games, Detroit features a vast river of branching paths. Every decision — whether major or trivial — affects future chapters. Even missing a single slip of paper in one scene blocks you from significant decisions in future scenes.

Despite the allure of unlocking every option possible, the game naturally blocks you from achieving — or at least, unlocking — every option. Some scenes even lock users into time limits, both explicitly shown and hidden.

Further, developers have also highlighted the game’s permadeath options. A persistent worry, however, is if Detroit will have copouts when it deals with death. Thankfully, death is a real option in the game. In my first playthrough, a key character didn’t make it to the end credits. While there are some copout moments, permadeaths for both side and main characters remain a possibility throughout.

Fortunately, Detroit shows you which branches and options you’ve unlocked during your playthrough. The developers adamantly encourage gamers to finish a playthrough first before backtracking into new branches. However, the temptation to replay a chapter is always there.

Press X to pay respects

Unlike most games, Detroit does not have a standard verb set. Besides the traditional movement stick and some interfaces, there are no dedicated run, use, and shoot buttons. Random prompts often appear to perform certain actions.

Usually, this isn’t a problem. In a laidback investigation portion, prompts are easy enough to decipher. However, as is the norm with Quantic Dream, the game also includes nerve-wracking quick-time events (QTEs) to get through action and chase scenes. While this is the best use of the janky controls, it’s not the best way to tell a story. The harried pressure to press the right button in time often takes away from the game’s cinematic element.

Realistic dolls in an empty dollhouse

The video game industry has come a long way from the polygonal character designs of yesteryear. Detroit pushes that boundary even further with its motion-captured performances. From cinematic cutscenes to trivial fidgets, Quantic Dream created extraordinarily realistic characters. The three main characters even share an uncanny likeness with the actual actors who play them.

Unfortunately, Detroit’s background visuals are less desirable. With interactable elements scattered throughout a scene, the game often plays out like an old-school point-and-click adventure game. However, they lack the random charm of those lovable games. Besides the actual objectives, Detroit’s backgrounds feel blank and empty. Even if they’re filled with details and background actors, neither Connor, Kara, nor Markus can interact with them other than just walking past. For a game that puts the premium on character design, Detroit falls short on delivering a thriving physical world.

Regardless, with its choice-driven narrative and superb character design, Detroit: Become Human marks a turning point for video games. It opens the industry as a medium for cinematic but interactive storytelling.

Despite its flaws, Detroit: Become Human is still a loving homage to the choose-your-own-adventures and point-and-click games of before.

SEE ALSO: Step into androids’ shoes in Detroit: Become Human

Features

Nintendo and Sony are in a heated battle during lockdown

Study also reveals which consoles were the most searched as lockdowns continue in SEA

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Photos by Alvaro Reyes and Mélanie THESE on Unsplash

It’s been roughly two and a half months since Southeast Asian countries have gone on lockdown due to COVID-19. As people were kept off the streets, video game companies found a way to reach these audiences through their consoles and game libraries. We watched as people spent most of their days learning new skills, staying healthy, and playing video games.

Little did we know, video game companies maximized this opportunity to sell more consoles, as well. A study by the iPrice Group revealed interesting data about the mini-console war that’s currently happening in Southeast Asia (SEA). In most countries, the Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 4 are leading the charge towards greater heights.

It made perfect sense that Nintendo’s handheld console is seeing its staggering sales increase during this period. Searches on online shopping platforms related to the Nintendo Switch skyrocketed by 245% within SEA alone, thanks in part to the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons back in March.

Image source: Livedoor

Apart from that, the Nintendo Switch dominates 5 out of 7 markets in SEA in terms of search volume. This, of course takes into account searches and purchases from people between mid-March to mid-April.

For most markets, the big 3 of gaming consoles (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation4, and Xbox One) dominated the charts. Apart from the Switch, the PlayStation 4 saw significant increase in interest between mid-March and mid-April by 135%.

The releases of the remastered versions of Resident Evil 3 and Final Fantasy VII contributed heavily to that increase. Surprisingly, in three countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines), the PlayStation 3 makes an appearances as a widely-searched console.

Looks like people really love their video games! If you want to know more about this trend, you can find the full report here.

SEE ALSO:
#PlayApartTogether: Embracing lockdowns and social distancing
Tinder users are going on Animal Crossing for their first dates
Just Dance 2020 helps with your workout-from-home

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Gaming

Razer announces inaugural SEA Invitational 2020

Brought about by esports’ successful stint in the 2019 SEA Games

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Esports is seeing a steady rise in viewership as the COVID-19 pandemic kept everyone indoors. Gaming companies started rolling out their own versions of esports tournaments open to all players, whether amateur or professional. And after its successful stint in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Razer wants to take esports to even greater heights.

As such, the company announced its inaugural Southeast Asia Invitational 2020, an esports tournament for the best of the best. The tournament organizers hope to gather the best esports athletes across Southeast Asia to prepare them for the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam. It will feature a unique tournament format, and will kick festivities off on June 22, 2020.

The invitational will feature three popular esports titles, two of which were in the 2019 SEA Games lineup. Expect intense and hotly contested action as players take the field in games like PUBG Mobile, DOTA 2, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. All of these will be available for streaming on Team Razer’s social media platforms: Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

This tournament is also in partnership with Tier One Entertainment, supported by esports federations across the region. Those who wish to participate in the invitational should talk to their respective federations.

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Deals

New PS4 bundles, discounts on Days of Play 2020

Promo period is from June 3 to 16

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Photo by Fabian Albert on Unsplash

Sony PlayStation’s annual promo is back! Days of Play 2020 is here and it’s one of your best chances to snag a PlayStation 4 along with some fantastic titles from recent years.

From June 3, 2020 until June 16, 2020, customers can purchase the following hardware deals from PlayStation Authorized Dealers:

 

  • PS4 Slim (Model: CUH-2218AB01, 500GB HDD), comes with NBA2K20 and Gran Turismo Sport at promotional price of PHP 14,990 — SRP: PhP 19,990

  • PS4 MEGAPACK (Model: CUH-2218BB01, 1TB HDD) at promotional price of PhP 13,990 — SRP: PhP 17,990

  • PS4 Pro God Of War™ / The Last Of Us™ Remastered (Model: CUH-7218BB01, 1TB HDD) Bundle at promotional price of PHP 18,990 — SRP: PhP 24,990

  • PS4 DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless Controller at promotional price of PHP 1,990* — SRP: PhP 2,990)

A bunch of games are also discounted for the duration of the promo!

PS4 Software Title

Promotional Price (PhP)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,299
Death Stranding Standard Edition 2,095
Nioh 2 Standard Edition 2,095
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Standard Edition 1,955
Dreams Universe Standard Edition 1,495
Days Gone Standard Edition 1,495
God Of War™ HITS 765
The Last Of Us™ Remastered HITS 765
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™ HITS 765
Ratchet & Clank™ HITS 765

For more information visit this official Days of Play 2020 website.

SEE ALSO:
The Last of Us Part II official pricing and availability
Last of Us Part II has a Limited Edition PS4 Pro

 

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